DETROIT—In 2022, the North American robotics market showed strong growth, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Total installations in manufacturing rose by 12% and reached 41,624 units in 2022, it said yesterday.
The No. 1 adopter of robotics is the automotive industry, said the International Federation of Robotics (IFR). Companies based in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico installed 20,391 industrial robots—up 30% compared with 2021, said the IFR's preliminary results.
“North America represents the second largest operational stock of industrial robots in the world after China,” stated Marina Bill, president of the IFR. “The United States, Canada, and Mexico are key markets in the global growth of robotics automation, and the automotive sector is leading the way.”
Car makers drive cyclical demand
In the U.S., demand from manufacturers of automobiles and components rose by 48% in 2022, said the IFR. Installations followed a well-known cyclical pattern of demand in this customer segment, noted Frankfurt, Germany-based the organization noted.
After a few years of contraction, down from the peak level of 15,397 units in 2017 to 9,854 units in 2021, installations surged to 14,594 units in 2022.
Installation counts in Canada largely depended on automotive industry investments, which accounted for 40% of robot installations, said the IFR. Sales to automotive declined by 36%, with 1,258 units installed in 2022. This was below the pre-pandemic level of 1,897 units in 2019, it added.
Robot installations for manufacturing parts and accessories for motor vehicles were down by 45%, with 995 units sold. However, installations of robots for making motor vehicles, engines, and bodies grew by 99%, with 263 units sold, said the IFR.
Robot installations in Mexico are also determined by the automotive industry, which accounted for 66% of the robot installations in 2022. Sales grew by 16% and reached 4,222 units in 2022—the second-best result since the peak level of 4,805 units in 2017, the IFR said.
Installation counts in other industries exceeding the 4,000-unit mark in North America included electrical/electronics (+28%), metal and machinery (-9%), and plastic and chemical products (-4%). They each represented a 9% market share of industrial robot installations in 2022.
Automate will return
The IFR released its North American robotics report during Automate, which the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) claimed is “the largest robotics and industrial automation trade show in North America.”
A3 last week reported that North American robot orders declined in the first quarter of 2023.
Automate will return in 2024 and then continue annually. McCormick Place in Chicago will host next year’s event from May 6 to 9, and in 2025, the event will be back in Detroit.
Automate, which had historically been held every other year alongside ProMat, saw unprecedented demand in back-to-back shows in 2022 and 2023, said A3.
Editor's note: For more around Automate 2023, visit Robotics 24/7's special coverage page.